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Camp Roosevelt Firebird in Bowerston will close this summer as owner and director Joe Mendes announced on his Facebook page his decision to sell the camp.

With the camp’s start dating back to 1918, Mendes said he is actively looking for a new owner and operator to purchase the camp and carry on the tradition.

He has led the camp for the last eight years, fulfilling a lifelong dream of his as he detailed his experience from being a camper to working at camps, giving up on his dream and ultimately finding it again when the opportunity to direct Camp Roosevelt Firebird fell into his lap.

“Over my eight years as camp director, I learned a most unexpected lesson along the way,” Mendes wrote. “Camp was never about me and my dream. It was about everyone else, their laughter, fun and tears and about what campers and staff learned and struggled through, and how they grew.”

He thanked those who have “put their heart and energy into camp” and donated to the campership fund, which has helped send 423 kids to camp during his time as director. He said his decision to sell the camp is “personal, based solely upon my happiness and future.”

For campers that already registered, Mendes said he will begin processing refunds immediately and is happy to guide anyone, both families and staff, looking for other summer camp options.

“Now, it’s time for a change and I’m looking forward to it,” Mendes wrote in closing. “I have a lot left in the tank. Lots more to do. Ready for new adventures. I’ll miss you all but please stay in touch from time to time. So as we say each summer at our final all-camp campfire, ‘It’s see ya later. It’s not goodbye.’”

According to his Facebook page, Mendes is a former elementary school teacher at Cleveland Heights-University Heights City School District who lives in Cleveland Heights.

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